Citizens & Ratepayers is facing a fight within its own ranks over plans to introduce extensive user-pays for water under the Super City.

Water bills will soar by hundreds of dollars for thousands of North Shore, Waitakere and Manukau households under a user-pays' system for wastewater supported by C&R president John Slater and finance spokesman Doug Armstrong.

But former North Shore Mayor and C&R candidate George Wood has spoken out against the proposals that will result in about 34,000 residents on the Shore facing higher water bills.

Mr Wood, who has joined C&R after announcing last month he would be standing as an independent candidate for the Auckland Council, said he did not support user-pays for wastewater and wanted to stick with the North Shore policy of a fixed charge.

He may not have any choice but to support user-pays after signing a statement agreeing to abide by the majority decision of any C&R caucus decisions.

Mr Wood is at odds with Mr Slater, who said the general policy for wastewater was user-pays, which Mr Armstrong and other senior C&R candidates, including Dick Quax and Christine Fletcher, support.

But the centre-right ticket is refusing to make a clear policy statement on wastewater charges until after the election, leaving tens of thousands of Auckland voters in the dark about the likely size of their water bills.

The ticket may yet pull back from a purist approach to user-pays.

Auckland City Mayor and Super City mayoral contender John Banks has also hinted at introducing his council's user-pays policy, which rewards people who do not use a lot of water but punishes heavy users.

Up to 127,000 households could pay up to $1000 or more for wastewater if user-pays is introduced.

The other main mayoral contender, Manukau Mayor Len Brown, has said he does not support user-pays charging for wastewater.

Neither does City Vision leader Richard Northey, who said a fixed charge was sufficient to encourage water savings without "socking" customers with higher water bills.

Councils charge for water on a user-pays basis, but Auckland City is the only one of the big four councils to have user-pays for wastewater.

The others have fixed charges for wastewater - $399 for residents in Manukau, $430 in Waitakere and $489 on the North Shore.

If the Auckland City charging system was imposed across the region, about 60 per cent of Manukau households would pay more for water, 56 per cent in Waitakere would pay more and 48 per cent on the North Shore would pay more. These figures are based on the average wastewater bill of about $470 collected by Auckland City's water company, Metrowater. They are approximate because the price charged for water varies among councils.

They also do not include savings expected from merging all the councils' water operations into a single council-controlled organisation for water.